Japanese PM makes historic trip to Cuba

CCTV News

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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Havana for talks with Cuba’s leader. It’s the first ever visit to Cuba by a Japanese Prime Minister.

CCTV America’s Michael Voss reports the story.

Japanese PM makes historic trip to Cuba

Japanese PM makes historic trip to Cuba

Japan's Prime Minister Shenzo Abe has arrived in Havana for talks with Cuba's leader. It's the first ever visit to Cuba by a Japanese Prime Minister.

Accompanied by his wife, Abe was met on arrival by Cuban Vice President Salvador Valdez before going on for talks with President Raul Castro.

At a signing ceremony in Havana earlier this week, Japan agreed to write off around two-thirds of Cuba’s $1.75 billion dollars in debt to Japan and restructure the remainder. This could open the way to new business opportunities.

Japan has only limited bilateral trade with Cuba right now, worth around 50 million dollars a year. Japan imports Cuba’s seafood, tobacco and coffee, while one of its main exports is medical equipment and other machinery.

Abe is expected to offer around $10 million in grant aid for Cuba to purchase more Japanese medical equipment. There are also plans to open a specialist medical training center in Cuba, featuring Japanese technology.

The resumption of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba has prompted several countries to reach out to Cuba looking to make commercial inroads before the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba is eventually lifted.